In today’s world, email inboxes are exploding with blasts and social media alerts. Just think about the dozens of promotional emails you delete each day. That’s a big reason direct mail services can work wonders for your marketing campaigns, giving your audience a tangible piece of mail instead of just another item in their inbox. Here’s what to know.
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A 2020 MarketingCharts survey found that business direct mail, when used in tandem with other marketing channels, can boost your overall marketing return on investment (ROI). Among the survey’s respondents, 59% experienced a good ROI with the addition of direct mail marketing, and 7% described their ROI as very good. Respectively, 69% and 8% of respondents said that adding direct mail resulted in good or very good target customer response rates.
Additionally, according to JetMail’s 2021 direct mail sector analysis, some direct mail campaigns involving 2,500 mailers resulted in a 30% response rate. That’s a sky-high engagement rate compared with most other marketing channels, equating to 750 respondents. That rate is also higher than the email marketing engagement rates from GetResponse’s 2023 email marketing benchmarks report, which found that email open and click-through rates were, respectively, 23.53% and 3.86% – notably lower than direct mail’s 30% response rate.
Direct mail marketing continues to be effective, especially at large scale and when combined with other marketing channels.
You might see the following benefits when you try direct mail marketing:
If you’re interested in launching a direct mail marketing campaign, consider the following steps to make it a resounding success:
The most common types of direct mail are postcards, letters and catalogs. While prices vary based on the company you use for your direct mail needs, postcards tend to be the cheapest form of direct mail, after you factor in the printing costs, stamps, and time spent designing the postcards and putting together the mailing list. Oversize postcards may help your business mailers stand out from other pieces of mail. Check your local post office for mailing costs. USPS direct mail promotions may also be available.
Another form of direct mail is a favorite to receive but the most expensive for businesses to send – packages filled with branded products. Some brands send magnets, pens, mugs and bags with their logo on it and some kind of advertising message enclosed. The messages may not survive the trash can, but the swag does, keeping your brand top of mind.
It’s common to send mail to your current client base or prospects who have expressed interest either by signing up for your email list or filling out a form on your website. Some companies purchase lists from list brokers, but this practice should be done with caution and a grain of salt. When you buy lists from brokers, the ROI tends to be lower, which may be because you don’t know if those contacts actually need your services or if the names and addresses are still valid.
Targeted mailing lists always yield better results. For example, if you sell lawn services, it can be helpful to send direct mail to welcome new residents to the neighborhood. To take it a step further, you could save money by sending mail only to addresses with lawns. If you are new to direct mail, you can send a direct mail test to a few hundred people for a relatively low upfront investment.
Once you’ve determined the recipients of your direct mail, create a targeted campaign. Don’t send junk. Create a message that speaks to your prospects’ needs. To do so, you need to know who your customers are and why they need your products or services. Build buyer personas that describe your target customers and their needs and interests, and consider them when designing your direct mail campaign.
Design is also a critical aspect of a successful direct mail campaign. The fonts, colors and images used in your direct mail matter and should be carefully thought out. Ideally, they should come from your branding guidelines. When a direct mail recipient searches for your brand online or visits your location, they should be able to immediately recognize the same branding they saw on your mailer.
Work with a print shop that can create quality material at a competitive price. When you start a direct mail campaign, you’ll likely need hundreds of pieces of mail; you’ll want to be sure that each is high-quality and uniform so your brand comes off as professional and polished.
The best print shops will be able to walk you through different design options, mailer sizes, finishes and other features that can make your mailers stand out. And, of course, they should give you an accurate pricing estimate before you print anything so you know exactly what you’re getting for your money.
Once you have your mailers in hand, it’s time to send them to the mailing list you’ve built.
Marketing and sales work hand in hand, and the key to a successful direct mail campaign is a motivated and knowledgeable sales team that specializes in the art of follow-up. You may need to send a few consecutive direct mail pieces to get phone calls, or couple your mailers with email marketing campaigns.
Here are a few final recommendations that can help you win sales from direct mail campaigns:
Direct mail marketing can be an effective way to reinforce your digital marketing campaigns and build a stronger connection with your target audience. For a relatively low cost, you can send mailers to a list of potential customers to give them a tangible connection with your brand that offers a high engagement rate. While it usually takes several touch points to turn a lead into a customer, direct mail is a helpful way to nurture prospects and keep your brand at the forefront of their minds.